Tag Archives | Homeland Security

Terrorist ‘Pre-Crime’ Detector Has Been Field Tested in the U.S.

Hmm, do the results even matter or is this something we’ll see anyway in the near future? Sharon Weinberger wrote recently in Nature News:

Planning a sojourn in the northeastern United States? You could soon be taking part in a novel security programme that can supposedly ‘sense’ whether you are planning to commit a crime.

Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST), a US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) programme designed to spot people who are intending to commit a terrorist act, has in the past few months completed its first round of field tests at an undisclosed location in the northeast, Nature has learned.

Like a lie detector, FAST measures a variety of physiological indicators, ranging from heart rate to the steadiness of a person’s gaze, to judge a subject’s state of mind. But there are major differences from the polygraph. FAST relies on non-contact sensors, so it can measure indicators as someone walks through a corridor at an airport, and it does not depend on active questioning of the subject.

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Was A Furby Threat to National Security?

FurbyA blast from the past. CNN reported back in 1999…

Can the cute, popular toy Furby be a threat to national security? The government thinks so, and has banned it from National Security Agency premises in Maryland.

Furby is embedded with a computer chip that allows it to record words. Because of that ability, NSA officials were worried “that people would take them home and they’d start talking classified,” one Capitol Hill source told The Washington Post.

In a warning to employees, the NSA said, “Personally owned photographic, video and audio recording equipment are prohibited items. This includes toys, such as ‘Furbys,’ with built-in recorders that repeat the audio with synthesized sound to mimic the original signal.”

“We are prohibited from introducing these items into NSA spaces. Those who have should contact their Staff Security Office for guidance,” a memo said.

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U.S. Warns Of Zombie Apocalypse

Hard to believe that this is a real communication from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, but it is! From the official CDC blog:

There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.

A Brief History of Zombies

We’ve all seen at least one movie about flesh-eating zombies taking over (my personal favorite is Resident Evil), but where do zombies come from and why do they love eating brains so much? The word zombie comes from Haitian and New Orleans voodoo origins. Although its meaning has changed slightly over the years, it refers to a human corpse mysteriously reanimated to serve the undead.

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A Baby Gets a TSA Patdown (Photo)

Baby with the TSACynthia Newsome reports on NBC KSHB-TV

KANSAS CITY, Missouri— A photo of two Transportation Security Administration agents doing a full pat down on a baby, approximately 8 months old, has gone viral.

It happened at the Kansas City International Airport.

A passenger, Jacob Jester, captured the image on his cell phone. Since he tweeted the picture on Saturday, it has had more than 200,000 hits.

The photo shows the helpless baby being held up in the air by his mother while the TSA workers do their job. Jester has an 8-month-old son and would not want his son to be subjected to a hand search by TSA agents.

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U.S. Homeland Security Changes Color Coded Terror Alert

431px-US_Navy_020312-O-0000X-001_Homeland_Security_Advisory_SystemFrom Peter Fedynsky at Voice Of America:

The United States is adopting a new terror alert system to replace the color-coded one put into place after the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.  Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made the announcement Wednesday in New York’s Grand Central railway station.  The new system is set to go into effect on April 26.

Secretary Napolitano told reporters that most Americans have ignored current alert system, while some have lived in fear because of it.

“We don’t want people to live in fear; we want people to live in a state of alertness and awareness,” said Secretary Napolitano. “And we want people to know how they can help themselves, how they can assist their community.  One way to do that is to provide people with more information.”

Napolitano noted that the new National Threat Advisory System minimizes, but does not eliminate, the risk of terrorist attacks because, as she puts it, “the United States cannot be put under a glass dome.”  But she said the new system maximizes the amount of information shared with the public about credible threats.

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The Muslim ‘Radicalization’ Myth Debunked

Justin Elliot at Salon.com talks with the author of a report from the Brennan Center for Justice on the difference between Peter King’s hysterical homeland security hearings and actual work to combat terrorism:

When Rep. Peter King’s controversial hearing on Muslim “radicalization” finally convened on Thursday, members of Congress had the opportunity to take some good shots at each other, and the relatives of two Americans who became extremists gave emotional testimony about their experiences.

What the hearing did not feature was any serious, evidence-based consideration of the actual issue of so-called homegrown terrorism by Muslim Americans.

King and other Republicans spent a lot of time going after the Muslim group CAIR and defending themselves from Democratic complaints that the hearing was bigoted. As TPM put it: “Peter King Hearing Focuses On Whether Peter King Hearing Was a Good Idea.”

As it turns out, there is rigorous academic work being done on the “radicalization” issue.

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Congressman Peter King Resurrects McCarthyism: This Time Around the “Communists” are Muslim

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

Peter King’s brand new version of the HUAC hearings and the glory days of the McCarthy era is set to begin Thursday, when King will hold hearings deciding whether or not American Muslims have been “radicalized.” King told CNN’s State of the UnionWe’re talking about the affiliates of Al Qaeda who have been radicalizing, and there’s been self-radicalization going on within the Muslim community, within a very small minority, but it’s there. And that’s where the threat is coming from at this time.”

King justified his witch hunt, titled “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response” by citing three terrorist incidents in the U.S. instances involving Muslims – the tragic shooting at Fort Hood in 2009 and two bomb plots in New York. King said “People in this country are being self-radicalized, whether it’s Major Hasan or whether it’s Shahzad or whether it was Zazi in New York.Read the rest

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$1.2 Trillion: The Real Cost of U.S. National Security

TomDispatchChristopher Hellman writes on TomDispatch.com:

So the big week is here as the federal budget heads for the Washington operating table. The question in the media will be: to shut or not to shut the government down — and whether that shutdown is likely to happen now, two weeks from now, or in the spring when raising the debt ceiling comes up for debate. In the meantime, the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives is intent on taking out fuel subsidies for the poor, federal funding for Planned Parenthood, money for National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting System, and the Maternal and Child Health Block Grant that “supports state-based prenatal care programs and services for children with special needs,” among many other programs, but not (as New York Times columnist Gail Collins pointed out recently) the millions of dollars the U.S. Army sinks into its “relationship” with NASCAR.  The House voted down a proposal to eliminate that program a week ago by a wide margin.

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US Government Accidentally Shuts Down 84,000 Websites

Photo: Zapyon (CC)

Photo: Zapyon (CC)

What happens when the government is given an internet kill switch? They accidentally shut down 84,000 websites whose identity they’ve mistaken during a child porn raid. Daily Tech reports:

In evidence of the dangers of the U.S. government’s increasing “kill switch” powers regarding web servers inside the U.S., the Department of Justice and Homeland Security’s ICE last week essentially shut down 84,000 sites in a case of mistaken identity.

The shutdowns targeted mooo.com, the most popular shared domain at free web service provider FreeDNS.  FreeDNS is a free domain service that is immensely popular among file sharers, blogs, small businesses, and other independent operators.  Its homepage is afraid.org.

With the mooo.com shutdown last Friday, the ICE accidentally shut down 84,000 subdomain pages.  The pages were all redirected to a banner that stated “Advertisement, distribution, transportation, receipt, and possession of child pornography constitute federal crimes that carry penalties for first time offenders of up to 30 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution.”

[Continues at Daily Tech]… Read the rest

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Preparing America For ‘See Something, Say Something’

The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign that’s so familiar to New Yorkers is going where no New Yorker can: Walmart. Scaring the crap out of middle America appears to be a priority for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, reaching into formerly safe havens such as the Mall of America.

With that in mind, a group of independent filmmakers from New York have created a short film entitled Terminal Night that should help get the rest of America in the mood for the constant vigilance demanded of them by Janet Napoletano and the gang at DOHS.

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